Q.1. “The world’s geological history is trapped in Antarctica.” How is the study of this region useful to us?
Ans. Present day Antarctica was the center of a huge landmass called Gondwana. It was a giant southern super continent. It existed about 650 million years ago and thrived for 500 million years. Then, it was not cold. Climate was warm. Thousands of species of flora and fauna lived there. But there were no human beings. Then this landmass disintegrated. India broke away and pushed against Asia and created the Himalayas. South America drifted away to join North America. Indeed, Antarctica holds the key to the geological history of our world. It helps to understand the significance of Cordilleran folds and pre-Cambrian granite shields, ozone and carbon, evolution and extinction.
Q.2. What are Geoff Green’s reasons for including high school students in “Students on Ice” expedition?
Ans. Human civilisation on earth is only 12000 years old. But during this short period, man has created much confusion here. He has built towns and cities. He has wiped out species to snatch limited resources of this earth for his ever increasing population. By burning fossil fuels, he has created a blanket of carbon dioxide around the world. This is slowly but surely increasing the global temperature. Today climate change is the most hotly debated topic. Geoff Green has included students in his expedition to provide them inspiring educational opportunities. Students are the policy makers of tomorrow. They are at an age when they are ready to learn and act. They have the idealism that the old lack.
Q.3. “Take care of small things and the big things will take care of themselves”. What I the relevance of this statement in the context of the Antarctic environment?
Ans. Phytoplankton are microscopic single-celled grasses. They synthesize organic compounds using the energy of the sun. These very-very tiny grasses sustain the entire food chain in the southern oceans. Scientists tell us that any further depletion of ozone layer will have a bad effect on the activity of these single celled plants. In turn, the whole food chain will be disrupted. That will endanger the lives of all sea creatures as well as birds in this region. So, if we take care of phytoplankton or the ozone layer, everything else will take care of itself.
Q.4. The Antarctica was part of warm and green Gondwana. How did it become cold and isolated?
Ans. 650 million years ago, there was a giant super continent in the south. Now we name it Gondwana. Antarctica formed the central part of that landmass. In those days, the climate was warmer and human beings had not appeared. Many species of flora and fauna were there. For 500 million years Gondwana thrived. But, around the time when dinosaurs disappeared and mammals began to develop, Gondwana began to break up. India broke away and pushed herself against Asia and buckled its crust to create the Himalayas. South America drifted to join North America opening up the Drake Passage. This created a cold current that goes round the South Pole. On account of this, the Antarctica was left not only isolated but it became frigid and desolate also.